I have a Leatherman OHT multi-tool (here’s the review), and it’s a fantastic multi-tool. The quick-access pliers are incredibly useful, and make this one of my favorite multi-tools ever.
Its pivots are adjustable, and this is a good thing but also a downside.
I’ve been using my OHT’s pliers very regularly, but the knives haven’t seen lot of use, until recently. Both main knives are difficult to close. Instead of sliding back into the handle, their liner locks push them outwards a little bit, and into the side handle scales.
I haven’t unpacked my other multi-tools yet, and only put 2 utility knives into my easy-access tool box. So that means my OHT has been somewhat of a workhorse.
I don’t remember the knives being sprung out when trying to close them. It’s so bizarre. But then I had a hunch and squeezed the pivot, and there was quite a bit of play – enough to allow the force of the liner lock springs to put the knives outside their normal range of travel.
Some adjustment with a tamper-resistant Torx T10 screwdriver, and the knife should be back to normal.
It’s great that the OHT allows for adjustments and user maintenance. I generally like tools that are user-serviceable, as this often means you can adjust them to suit personal preferences, or maintain them for longer life.
But if something is adjustable, or user maintainable, there’s the potential for something to work loose.
I didn’t expect the knife pivots of my OHT to work themselves a little loose, but thankfully it should be an easy fix. Since I bought my OHT when they first came out, maybe later models have better thread locking.
If my OHT had fixed pivots, maybe they wouldn’t have loosened up. But if they had fixed pivots that loosened up, I would have no choice but to rely on Leatherman’s warranty service to get the tool back in working order.
Speaking about Leatherman, I do like their multi-tools that have user-replaceable hard wire cutters. Because of the knowledge I can easily replace heavily worn or ruined cutter blades, I use them more, and in situations I wouldn’t want to risk ruining non-replaceable hard wire cutter blades.
I think this is the first hesitation I have ever had about user-serviceable hand tools.
Tools like Milwaukee’s heavy duty scissors,
Correction: these scissors don’t have a user-removable pivot.
and Wilde’s flush joint pliers are two other examples that quickly came to mind.
Is this something that matters to you when shopping for things like pliers, hammers, shears, and other types of tools that might offer user-accessible adjustability or maintenance options?
Generally, I think that having the option to adjust or maintain hand tools is a good thing, and don’t really see any downsides. I started writing this post thinking that my OHT’s self-loosened pivot is a downside to its adjustability, but part of that is frustration at not knowing where my tamper resistant T10 screwdriver is.
Quite frankly, I do wish that more tools were adjustable or user-serviceable. It would make more tools repairable, rather than replaceable.